Mumbai chokes with pollution levels on rise
NO RESPITE Expect ‘very poor’ air quality today too; CM orders probe into Deonar fire
MUMBAI: Air pollution in the city continued to choke Mumbaiites, with the air quality index (AQI) falling in the ‘very poor’ category for the second consecutive day on Saturday. While weather conditions were the primary reason for heavy smog across the city, the smoke emitting from the fire at the Deonar dumping yard made matters worse, especially in the eastern suburbs.
The AQI — pollution measuring indicator — was at 318 during the day and 306 in the evening. An AQI of 300 and above falls under the ‘very poor’ category. On Friday, Mumbai had recorded the highest pollution levels — AQI of 325 during the day and 341 in the evening — since the System of Air Quality Weather Forecasting and Research (SAFAR) began monitoring air quality in June last year.
SAFAR, which measures pollution levels at 10 locations across the city, predicted ‘very poor’ air quality levels for Sunday, too, with an AQI of 311.
Meanwhile, even as the Mumbai fire brigade tried to control the fire at Deonar dumping ground, CM Devendra Fadnavis asked the Mumbai police commissioner to probe the possibility of sabotage. The civic body has filed an FIR against the contractor responsible for disposal of waste at the dumping ground. “BMC Commissioner informs that smoke at Deonar is substantially under control. I’ve asked CP, Mumbai to enquire into possibility of sabotage,” Fadnavis tweeted on Saturday evening.
The fire at the dumping ground has led to an increase in pollution levels in areas such as Govandi, Shivaji Nagar, Chembur, Tilak Nagar, Ghatkopar, and Kurla, among others. Several people living in these areas have complained of breathing problems and respiratory ailments because of the smoke. Even schools in the vicinity of the dumping ground stayed shut on Saturday.
According to officials from SAFAR, the ‘ very poor’ air quality levels on Saturday were majorly owing to the fire at Deonar. “We observed that all locations around the landfill recorded high pollution levels, but all other locations in the city observed an improved air quality than Friday,” said Neha S Parkhi, senior programme manager, SAFAR.
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